Field Trip Information


School Group Reservations & Field Trips

Crystal Cove State Park invites students to participate in curriculum-based educational programs. These programs are available for school and other organized groups throughout the year in the park.
To request a field trip, whether guided or self-guided, please contact the Park Interpretive Office at 949.497.7647 or e-mail

To protect the park’s resources for future generations, and to ensure a quality educational experience for all of our visitors, Crystal Cove State Park has a daily specific limited carrying capacity. Reservations are necessary to guarantee space. A maximum of one group permit will be issued per day for each area of the Park. Available locations are: Moro Backcountry, Reef Point, Historic District, Pelican Point, and Treasure Cove. Requests for an unavailable site will be offered alternative sites or dates, when available. If schools choose to visit the park without making a reservation they will be charged a day-use fee of $15 per vehicle or $100 per bus.
When visiting the tidepools, we ask that you and your assistants/students follow general good tidepool etiquette by avoiding any action that may negatively affect the tidepool habitat. Please avoid trampling plants, walking in tidepools, handling organisms, picking up organisms, and overturning rocks as these activities are highly detrimental and may not be allowed under the Marine Protected Areas regulations. We also request that you, as team/class leader, wear clothing that identifies you as a member of your research institution.

For Guided Field Trips

The interpretive presentation fee is $2.50 per students and chaperones. Teachers are free. We suggest one chaperone per 10 students. Due to classroom size and quality of the program, we cap the number of students on a guided fieldtrip to 60 students.

For Homeschool Groups

Due to the varying ages, we cap the number of students at 40 K-12. Younger siblings are welcome to accompany their families to the park, but during the classroom presentation will be asked to stay with a parent outside. To see our selection of guided interpretive programs, please see the descriptions below. We are also happy to discuss customizing a program to fit your curriculum needs.

For Self-Guided Field Trips

To qualify for day-use fee waivers, contact the Park Interpretive Office at 949-497-7647 to be provided the California Department of Parks and Recreation School Group Reservation Request, Form DPR 124, required from each educational group. This request must be on file, at the Park, a minimum of 15 days before the event.

For college classes, we also ask that you fill out the attached and email to Download Form

For School Groups Collecting Data/Conducting Research in the Park

Despite Crystal Cove State Park being a State Marine Conservation Area for a number of years, collecting and other detrimental activities by visitors to our shores continues to occur. This is particularly true for the large number of educational field trips that occur throughout the year. We encourage you to continue to bring classes to the coast and conduct research within the intertidal and adjacent waters, but please adhere to the following guidelines:
If you are taking a class to conduct research or do any collecting within Crystal Cove State Park, you must submit in a timely fashion (60 days) the Scientific Collecting Permit prior to your visit. The application and more information can be found here:

Pre-Field Trip Teaching Aids

1. Teacher’s Packet

2. Between a Rock and a Hard Place Tidepool Video

3. A Guide to the Side of the Sea

4. Guide to Tidepool Exploration (Outside)

5. Guide to Tidepool Exploation (Inside)